Vancouver schools: No homework for K-3rd grade

Vancouver Public Schools has set new homework guidelines for all grade

A student in a Vancouver elementary school (KOIN, file)
A student in a Vancouver elementary school (KOIN, file)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Vancouver Public Schools has revised its homework policy, eliminating at-home work for its youngest students completely.

The district says that “current research shows that homework assignments given to children in primary grades offer few, if any, educational benefits.” The new guidelines are meant to support teaching and learning goals, improve instruction and enhance achievement.

The VPS board of directors approved the revised policy at the April 11, 2017, school board meeting.

Guidelines for assigning homework

The frequency and duration of mandatory assignments should be:

1. Kindergarten through third grade – students should not be required to complete homework assignments. Encouragement should be provided to engage in family home learning activities such as reading to and with their child, outside play, puzzles and games, etc.;
2. Fourth and fifth grades – homework assignments of two to four assignments a week, each lasting not more than 15 to 45 minutes, will take into account the student’s developmental age, learning goals and program of studies;
3. Sixth through eighth grade – three to five assignments a week, each lasting 45 to 75 minutes;
4. Ninth through 12th grade – three to five assignments a week, each lasting 75 to 120 minutes; and
5. Students enrolled in special K-12 programs, including language immersion, Highly Capable, Honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and College in the High School may have additional assignments in accordance with program goals and requirements.

Mom of three Eileen Cowan loves the idea.

“I don’t feel like I have to push my kids to be the best and greatest, they’re just doing what they need to do an being kids and that’s an important thing as well,” she said.

Other parents who may be concerned that kids are doing enough outside school are encouraged to communicate with the teachers.

“I think what is important is that they reach out and have good communication through their child’s teacher and with their school principle and other parents and work together to address those concerns,” VPS Director of Curriculum Instruction, Layne Manning said.